Itasca delays Haymarket hearing, citing lack of venue space
A public hearing on a plan to open an addiction treatment facility in Itasca is being delayed again, this time because village officials say they can't find a venue large enough to hold the expected crowd.
In a letter to residents dated Wednesday, Mayor Jeff Pruyn said staff members have been "working nonstop to try and find a venue that would fit approximately 2,000 people, and that would be close for our residents" for the scheduled plan commission hearing on the Haymarket Center proposal. "While we are actively having discussions with a few places, village staff is unable to secure a large enough venue in time to post an Oct. 2 meeting agenda."
He said the village's goal is to conduct the hearing as soon as possible.
The village originally planned to hold its first hearing on the Haymarket plan on Sept. 18 at Peacock Middle School, but had to cancel it before it even began when more than 3,000 people jammed the gymnasium and cafeteria and hundreds of others couldn't get inside. The crowd represented about 17% of the village's population.
Chicago-based Haymarket wants to open a 200-bed drug and alcohol treatment center in what is now a Holiday Inn along Irving Park Road.
Almost 100 people died from drug overdoses last year in DuPage County and nearly 2,000 residents from DuPage and other collar counties were patients at Haymarket clinics from 2017 to 2018.
Haymarket officials say they're dedicated to providing lifesaving care in the community.
But their proposal has met with staunch opposition from a large segment of village residents who say the proposed facility is too big for Itasca, would overwhelm the village's ability to provide ambulance and other municipal services, would cost the village tax money from closing the hotel; and is too close to homes and amenities such as the municipal swimming pool.
Residents don't deny such a facility is needed in DuPage, but say it would better serve the area if it was more centrally located and in a larger community.
Pruyn had expressed frustration during his Tuesday State of the Village address with the difficulties officials are having in finding a venue large enough to host what's expected to be a series of hearings.